IMAGE OF THE WEEK
USGS computer image of Stellwagen Bank, off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Stellwagen Bank (the curving area, shaded yellow to green, just north of Cape Cod's tip) is an area of sand and gravel banks formed during the glacial retreats after the last Ice Age, creating an area of shallow water that is a prime habitat for many sea creatures and thus a major feeding ground for whales. Whale-sighting trips launch from many of the seaside towns in Massachusetts and along Cape Cod, with the boats motoring out onto the Bank (where depths suddenly reduce to less than 100 feet) to observe the feeding whales as they come up for air. My wife and I did this as one of our honeymoon activities, and there were indeed many whales to be seen, some of them quite close. Below is a stock image of a whale lifting its head from the water; this is pretty much exactly what we saw that day.